It’s A Whole New World With Cochlear And Bone-Anchored Implants

If your hearing loss is severe to profound, it’s understandable to feel like you’re missing out on things. You want to feel more connected to your environment and better understand conversations with loved ones, hear the dialogue from your favorite movie or understand other sounds around you.

You might feel frustrated if you’ve tried hearing aids and they just don’t work for you. But luckily, there are several other options provided by Acadian Hearing & Balance Center that might open a new world of sounds for you.

What Are Cochlear Implants?

A cochlear implant is a device that stimulates the auditory nerve by using electrodes placed in the cochlea of the inner ear. This device has both external and internal parts. The external part sits behind the ear and picks up sounds with a microphone. The sound is then transmitted to the internal elements of the implant.

How Are These Implants Different from Hearing Aids?

While hearing aids amplify sounds, implants bypass damaged portions of the ear and directly stimulate the auditory nerve. The implant generates signals that are sent through the auditory nerve to the brain, which are, in turn, recognized as sounds.

Hearing through a cochlear implant can take time to learn. But Acadian Hearing & Balance Center will be by your side through this process. Once you get accustomed to those new sounds, you can better understand the sounds that make up your world, whether it’s something spoken by a family member or friend, a discussion in a classroom or the bark of your dog.

When Should I Consider a Hearing Implant?

This is a big question, and you don’t have to answer it on your own. Our provider will help you determine if hearing implants would be a good fit for you.

Implants are often used in the following circumstances:

  • You’re experiencing hearing loss that is not helped by hearing aids
  • You miss more than half of spoken words or rely on lip reading, even with hearing aids
  • You have a profound sensorineural hearing loss, a condition involving damage to your inner ear

How Can Hearing Implants Help Children?

In 2000, cochlear implants received FDA approval for use in children starting at 12 months old. The technology can potentially change the lives of children who are deaf or hard of hearing.

Using a cochlear implant when children are young connects them to sounds as they develop speech and language skills. Studies have shown that when a child receives implants and therapy prior to turning 18 months:

  • They can hear, understand sound and music and communicate with others at better rates than children who receive implants when they are older
  • They develop language skills at similar rates to peers with normal hearing
  • They are often successful in mainstream classrooms

Additional Options

There are other types of implants that can also help those who have difficulty hearing.

Bone-Anchored Implant

Bone-anchored implants allow you to hear sounds by transmitting vibrations to the inner ear. While traditional hearing aids amplify sounds that enter the ear canal, bone-anchored hearing devices bypass the ear canal and middle ear, similar to how cochlear implants work.

Which Hearing Implant Is Best for Me?

Our audiologist will guide you through this process. Typically, you can receive a cochlear implant unless:

  • You have damage from a skull fracture
  • Your auditory nerve is small or missing
  • The shape of your inner ear doesn’t allow for it
  • A rare tumor known as neurofibromatosis type II (NF2), is present

How Does a Bone-Anchored Hearing Device Work?

Bone-anchored implants allow you to hear sounds by transmitting vibrations to the inner ear. While traditional hearing aids amplify sounds that enter the ear canal, bone-anchored hearing devices bypass the ear canal and middle ear, similar to how cochlear implants work.

A bone-anchored hearing device consists of:

  • A titanium implant
  • An external abutment
  • An external sound processor and microphone

The device sends sound vibrations through the external abutment to the titanium implant, which eventually integrates with the skull bone.

Who Should Receive a Bone-Anchored Implant?

You might be a good candidate for a bone-anchored hearing device if:

  • You have single-sided deafness
  • You have malformations in the outer ear, middle ear or ear canal
  • You’re allergic to traditional hearing aids• You have Meniere’s disease
  • You experience chronic middle ear infections
  • You have cholesteatoma or growth of skin behind your eardrum
  • You have an acoustic neuroma or a benign tumor that develops on your vestibular or auditory nerves

Can Children Use Bone-Anchored Hearing Devices?

If your child has conductive hearing loss, mixed hearing loss or single-sided deafness, a bone-anchored implant might be a good fit for them. For younger children and those who would prefer a nonsurgical option, certain sound processors can be held in place with a band or sticker. Our provider will work with you to determine what might work best for your child.

What Are the Benefits of a Bone-Anchored Hearing Device?

  • Because the device is directly against the bone, sound quality is often superior.
  • For those who have ears that are absent or formed differently, it can be difficult to comfortably wear a conventional hearing aid.
  • Though they require surgery, the process is minimally invasive.

How Do I Get a Bone-Anchored Implant?

Receiving a bone-anchored hearing device requires surgery by a medical doctor, but it’s an outpatient procedure. Our provider will insert a small titanium implant into the mastoid bone behind the ear. The abutment will stick out through the skin to allow you to attach the external microphone and sound processor.

Following the surgery, your skull and skin must heal before the device’s external elements can be clipped on. This typically takes between three weeks and three months.

Once you’ve healed from the surgery, the sound processor and microphone can be programmed for your specific hearing needs. We’ll customize the device, so it works best for you individually.

What Happens After I Receive a Bone-Anchored Implant?

After healing from the surgery, your audiologist will program the device to fit your unique needs and teach you how to care for it. You will also receive aural therapy to interpret the new electrical signals.

The duration of this rehabilitation will vary based on your goals and progress. Whether it lasts for a shorter period of time or is a long-term endeavor, Acadian Hearing & Balance Center will be by your side.

Cochlear Osia®

The Cochlear Osia® is another implant device designed specifically to help those who experience conductive hearing loss, mixed hearing loss and single-sided deafness (SSD). The Osia OSI200 implant is made to work with your body and help you communicate better with friends, family and loved ones.

How Osia Works

The Osia implant will be placed under the skin. It works to bypass the damaged areas of the outer and middle ear, which allows sounds to reach your ear directly as opposed to being amplified from another device. The high output power and gain of the Osia System enables a fitting range of up to 55 dB SNHL, helping to reach a broader spectrum of patients.

Benefits of Osia

With Osia, you get quality hearing enhancement thanks to the following:

  • Helps hearing for those with a wide range of hearing loss types (up to 55 dB SNHL)
  • Enhanced speech quality within both background noise and quiet environments
  • Designed to be safe during MRI medical procedures

Our Team Is In Your Corner

At Acadian Hearing & Balance Center, we’re here to guide you through your journey of getting hearing loss treatment. Whether you’re ready to move forward with a bone-anchored hearing device or have more questions, we’re here to support you. We want you to connect with as many sounds as possible.